Jersey manager at centre of Bellwood claims reinstated

A Jersey care manager who sacked a UK social worker from a secure unit has been reinstated after an internal investigation.

Joe Kennedy, the residential services manager for the States of Jersey, was suspended and investigated after the sacking of Simon Bellwood who had criticised practice on the island.

Bellwood had complained about Kennedy’s policy of locking children in solitary confinement – known as grand prix – at the Greenfields secure unit. He also alleged Kennedy had harrassed and bullied him.

After Bellwood’s employment tribunal in March, Kennedy was suspended and subjected to an internal management investigation. A separate independent investigation into the circumstances of Bellwood’s dismissal is continuing.

In a statement, Jersey’s health and social services department said: “Following an independent investigation and internal procedure, the employee of the health and social services department employed in residential/secure services has returned to full duties, with matters which led to the employee’s suspension now resolved. As this is a personal staff matter no further comment will be made.”

The Howard League for Penal Reform visited Jersey this month to review the island’s secure services in the wake of Bellwood’s original concerns.

The league said the grand prix system “should never have been allowed to flourish” and called on Jersey to sign up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ahead of the charity’s final report, expected later this year, assistant director Andrew Neilson said independent child advocates should be introduced.

A separate report on Jersey’s children’s services by UK social work expert Andrew Williamson is expected to be published by the start of next month.

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